Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waste Not

So back in my summer between elementary school and high school I went to this camp. We met some of the other kids from other schools in the area that would be going to the high school. We climbed ropes, learned about astrology, about team leadership, and the environment. What struck me most was at the dining hall where they actually took a measurement of all the food that was wasted at the end of the meal. Little by little over the days the amount that was wasted went down as we became more conscious of how much we put on our plate, etc.

Similarly over the last few years I have started to recycle more items and more regularly. This cut my trash in half or more! Also I try to buy items with the thoughts about the packaging and how easily it will be recycled. This can all be summed up with the concept of the carbon footprint but its more than that, its living consciously with every action you make and it is as important as the items you buy or throw away.

This feels even more important with so many people out of work and having difficulty feeding their families. A friend of a friend doesn't even have money for gas/food. This is real and its hitting home.

Recently trying to find ways to not waste food. Often times I would just go to the store and buy whatever I found appealing. Half of it would go bad because I would forget about it or not find a use for it. Now I try to think of what I have and how I can use it and trying to get creative. Tonight I'm making bread pudding for the first time. My husband always leaves all the bread ends so I would have 4/5 small bags of all these stale bread that I would throw out. Yuck. So instead transforming it into something yummy.

Something that seems disposable might have a use after all. I have found old yoplait yogurt containers to work very well to mix paints. Toothbrushes can be used to clean around the house. Although this might sound gross to some, some companies like Preserve will take back old Preserve tootbrushes/razors and will recycle them, through their Gimme5 program.

Companies like Salvation Army, Good Will, Got Junk will come and pick up items from you for free.

Will continue to share ideas of how to make small changes that ultimately will make a big impact!


Nataraj Hauser said...

I'm a bit astonished at the difference between me/us and my next door neighbor. We discard, as trash, about what would fit easily into a grocery bag each week. Our neighbors discard a FULL 55-gallon bin. We discard, as recyclables, about half a 55-gallon tub every two weeks, while they discard a full tub. Same households: 2 adults, no kids, 1 pet. It is starkly apparent the difference our choices make as consumers. Our choices (less packaging, less overall consumption) generates 50-80% less discard than they.

My favorite avoidance? We bartered for a small, extra fridge, stuck a tapper through the door, and buy beer in kegs rather than bottles. When we take beer to a party, we use a half-gallon cider jug. The difference in cost and bottles is mind-boggling. In the past three years, that's something like 1,200 bottles not ...
having raw materials mined,
used once,
recycled (hopefully!),
and shipped.

Ponder that about EVERY thing you use!

Saroja said...

Way to go!! I have to remind myself to throw away my trash now. It gets smelly before we fill it up :)